I am genuinely in awe of local creators and openly so, as I couldn’t think of greater job satisfaction than seeing someone wear something that I created: something I fully believed in and put my heart, blood, sweat, tears and time into!
For years I’ve toyed with beaded jewellery making and just before Christmas I finally did a course in something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I got one on one tuition with local goldsmith extraordinaire Tiffany Budd at her home in rural Sligo. It was a beautiful escape and I had one of the best and most productive weekends of 2015. Having researched Tiffany’s work and read about her courses on her website, I was so excited at the prospect of creating something of my own and having a finished product by the end of the day. I had a clear idea about what I wanted and had drawn a few sketches prior to meeting Tiffany.
Part of me didn’t think it was actually going to happen!You wouldn’t believe how much I learned in a matter of hours. I was in awe; in my element. I was so so eager to learn and create. The closest I had ever been to an anvil was Seamus Heaney’s “The Forge.” But, if I’m totally honest, I didn’t really know what an anvil actually looked like… I had visualised it incorrectly from the poem! Would you believe I now own one? My brother Brían, who’s always so encouraging, bought me an anvil and wooden peg for Christmas after I enjoyed the course so much!To begin: I hand cut some silver using a small saw. I broke a saw blade or two in the process. I love pendants and most days I wear unusual gold pieces – layered. I really wanted to create a minimalist kite pendant. After I had hand cut my desired shape, it was time to file, polish, define and add detail. Silver is a great conductor so the metal gets really hot when you’re filing! All these techniques were new to me. My hand cramped and ached and I was mentally and physically exhausted from concentrating all day – but satisfyingly so.I wanted each section to be different, so we created a clouded effect and I hammered the little holes.
I just loved it. It felt right.
Silver jewellery is becoming more and more popular at the moment, perhaps due to the cost of gold, but as I normally wear gold pendants, I really wanted to add some gold leaf to my creation. Besides, I think mixed metals are often the most interesting!We soldered the jump ring and I added some beads to create that ‘kite in flight’ effect.
So that’s my first handmade silver design and creation!
No cast here: it’s hand cut, filed by hand and hammered and perforated by hand.
The original silver that’s polished, which we didn’t cloud, perforate or cover with gold leaf gives off that fab reflection and mirrored effect.
After the hours I spent creating this piece, I have the utmost respect for goldsmiths like Tiffany! Even more so than I did before. It requires such skill.
I can’t recommend a course with Tiffany enough. She is a dream. She is patient and pleasant and very easy company. I definitely want to go back to learn more. Knowledge is precious, but she is so generous with all her knowledge and skills. Check out her courses here. See her designs here.
I’d love to know what you think of my piece! Would this appeal to you?
Thanks for reading.